By Brian Green, CSP, Vice President, LLoydIT
So, you have decided to make a career change and find a new job – suddenly you find yourself spending an innate amount of time searching job boards, talking to former colleagues, tweeting members of trade associations, networking with personal contacts and hoping that you will see the perfect job posted online, or that someone you know can suggest someone terrific for you through their own circles. If you are a candidate, you may even have been lucky enough to secure a few interviews, but they weren’t well aligned with your career aspirations. You’re busy in your work and personal life and looking for a job seems like it’s becoming a job in itself. What do you do next?
THE RIGHT STAFFING FIRM CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR CAREER GOALS
It’s that simple. You need to connect with a specialist in the job market. Begin by finding a specialized Recruiter or attract a Recruiter to find you.
How do you determine if you have found the right Recruiter to represent you?
There are many variables to look at when selecting a Staffing Agent, most commonly referred to as a Recruiter. The most important thing to remember is the Recruiter will be representing you in one of the most critical aspects of your life — finding a job that will expand your career horizons now and hopefully, in the future.
STAFFING FIRM CRITERIA
Does the Recruiter work for a reputable firm?
Ideally, a staffing or search firm that has visibility, name recognition in your marketplace or industry, and may have been recommended by others in your network. Look at the firm’s web site, read about their leadership, review their credentials, look at their areas of specialization (do they service your expertise as one of their specialties), do they post a lot of positions on their web site, are they a member of the ASA – American Staffing Association?
The ASA is the industry trade association for staffing firms and assures candidates that the firm abides by the ASA Code of Ethics and Good Practices. Recruiters who are Certified by the ASA have passed a rigorous exam requiring a knowledge of federal and state labor and employment law. When you see the “CSP” designation after a Recruiter’s name it stands for Certified Staffing Professional and is a benchmark of excellence in the staffing industry.
Remember the client the Staffing Firm represents takes all of the above into consideration when they engage a Staffing Firm to handle a candidate search on their behalf. Clients who utilize Staffing Firms understand their value. The most important is the Staffing Firm’s ability to identify candidates who are the strongest possible fit for their job opening in the marketplace.
Companies use staffing firms in tandem with their own recruiting efforts, so it becomes critical for the Staffing firm to identify and refer candidates who offer an exceptional skill and culture fit to the opportunity. In other words, the Recruiter wants to identify you and sell/represent you as the leading candidate to their clientele, which is a major benefit to you. Being singled out and represented by a Staffing Professional sets you apart from the crowd, because the Recruiter has “skin in the game,” they are also staking their own reputation as a Talent resource and want their corporate client to know they can recognize the right candidate for the job.
ATTRACTING A RECRUITER TO REPRESENT YOU
Before you start your job search efforts, you need to review the following checklist:
1. Is your resume up to date…. did you spell check it and review it for appropriate grammar? Is it attractive to the eye, does it capture the reader in the first 10 seconds when reading it, does it have a clear career objective(s) or professional summary? Does it have all your contact info on it (cell & home number, address, email address, links to your LinkedIn profile, etc).
2. LinkedIn is the place where Recruiters hang out. It’s one of their favorite places to source new Talent. Why? Because their corporate clients (the hiring companies) typically post their open positions on paid job boards and Recruiters/Staffing Agents generally represent those candidates that are considered passive candidates. A passive candidate is someone that is not necessarily looking for a new job – but is usually open to considering an opportunity if it presents itself. That is why having your LinkedIn profile up-to-date is important, so that the Recruiter can find you and tell you about a custom fit career opportunity. LinkedIn lets you showcase your skills, experience and achievements without having to shout to the world that you might be in the market for a new position. Remember, the best time to investigate a new job is when you are relatively content in your current position and currently employed.
Recruiters also investigate User Groups, read commentary and explore other social media venues besides LinkedIn. A digital personal brand will help support you professionally, whether of not you are actively seeking new employment.
3. Posting your resume in a Job Bank can also be beneficial. We recommend that you post your resume confidentially. If a Recruiter likes your credentials, they will absolutely reach out to you. Having your resume posted openly with your name and current employer is not advisable. Confidentiality implies exclusivity, a kind of mystique that makes you “hard to get” – and both employers and recruiters like that you appear confident and choosy. You may even opt to create a new anonymous email address just for resume postings.
4. Once you have connected with a Recruiter and have identified they are someone you want to represent you, then let the Recruiter know that you will be willing to work with them exclusively for an agreed period of time – six months is a good guideline. Having candidate exclusivity is a benefit to both you and the Recruiter. Pay attention to the time the recruiter gives to listening to you, not just talking at you. For them to be an effective recruiter and one you might want to stay with throughout your career, they have to know and understand what motivates you professionally and what you must have and what you would like to have when you consider new opportunities.
5. A trusted Recruiter/Candidate relationship is critical to a successful career search. Our recommendation is once committed to the Recruiter, remove your resume from all online job databases. Take it down. Companies have robots that scan the job boards and pull in resumes into their database, and if the Recruiter is representing you exclusively, you don’t want the Corporate Recruiter to see your resume posted online, as this would cause a conflict in your representation. You want to be that “needle in the haystack” candidate and name identifiable resumes that show up in too many job banks, appear more desperate than privileged.
6. Let your Agent “work the room.” Most Recruiters belong to many networking forums and have the ability to network your resume/candidacy to other recruiters, organizations, peers, etc. on a confidential basis. In this way your resume actually opens doors that might be otherwise closed to you and also opens up job opportunities through candidate marketing – i.e. presenting the right talent can bring an opening to light that may not yet have been assigned to an external Recruiter.
7. Tell your Recruiter if you see a job posting that interests you. You know that’s happened – you see a posting, or an ad, or a mention in a trade journal and would love to know more, but might now want to open that door yourself – let the Recruiter do it on your behalf and represent you into the position. Why not just apply directly to the posting yourself? A professional Recruiter knows the best entry into an organization and can get you the type of visibility necessary to generate an interview. The Recruiter sells/markets your qualifications to the highest level hiring management – not a resume screener. Their hiring pipeline is extensive and they know many people on the inside of companies who would be difficult for you to reach on an independent basis. They get you beyond the gatekeeper. The Recruiter amplifies your candidacy… that is their function, to obtain an interview for you. Their single goal is to get you the job.
So, once you have secured a Recruiter to represent you. What’s next?
8. Collaborate with the Recruiter. The Recruiter now is highly motivated to spend the time necessary to represent you. This means share information, talk live frequently and get ready for new career experiences. Listen to your Recruiter and heed his or her recommendations. This is a relationship that if right, can carry you into your career as you move, grow and explore new venues. Like a good Doctor, Lawyer, or Accountant, a Recruiter is someone to always have in your networking circle and a relationship to cultivate, maintain and retain for years to come.